|MadSci Network: General Biology|
FSH..follicle stimulating hormone, is synthesized by the anterior pituitary gland under the direction of GnRH from the hypothalamus. FSH specifically targets the Sertoli cells of the testes. The Sertoli cells are also called nurse cells because of their role in nourishing and protecting the developing sperm cells. Without stimulation by FSH, Sertoli cells will not function properly. They will not be able to support the developing spermatozoa and may even lose contact with cells such as the spermatogonia. Hormone replacement therapy with urofollitropin may be able to reverse the defect as long as the Sertoli cells have functional FSH receptor. ICSI, intra-cytoplasmic-sperm-injection, involves using micromanipulation to physically insert a sperm or even spermatid into the cytoplasm of an oocyte. This process can be used to fertilize oocytes with sperm that have poor or zero motility. Furthermore, sperm cells can be harvested directly from the testes using various techniques such as a biopsy, core sample of seminiferous tubules. If the testes are subfunctional because of low or no FSH stimulation, even ICSI would likely have limited utility in providing fertility. A couple of good sources of information on this topic is the Textbook of Medical Physiology, 10th ed. Guyton and Hall, Saunders Pub. and Knobil and Neill, The Physiology of Reproduction 2nd ed. Raven Press. David Mallory Associate Professor Department of Biological Sciences Marshall University Huntington, WV USA
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